Fed up with delays, victim's family urges murder trial to move forward

Tikkitress Johnson was stabbed to death in 2009 while working at Taco Bell

OAKLAND PARK, Fla. – Herb Johnson’s patience has run out. 

Nearly a decade ago, his wife, 39-year-old Tikkitress Johnson, was stabbed to death at her job as the manager of a Taco Bell in Oakland Park. Two men -- Karari Ritchie and his brother, Tesfaye Ritchie -- were arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Deputies believe Karari Ritchie was the one who stabbed Johnson as she begged for her life. Deputies said the brothers posed as job applicants before they robbed and killed Johnson on Aug. 10, 2009, before the store had opened for the day.

Johnson had offered them soft drinks before they attacked her, and the fingerprints left on the cups led to their arrest, deputies said.

Karari Ritchie has spent years in jail, awaiting what is expected to be a death penalty case.

"I would give anything to bring her back," Johnson said. "But we know that’s not going to happen. But at least if I can get to the point where we get to the trial, get that behind us."

In 2015, Tesfaye Ritchie pleaded no contest to one count of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Johnson launched this plea on YouTube last week, letting the community know what he has been dealing with and urging people to help him. He’s asking people to call Broward State Attorney Michael Satz to move the case along.

"I think there has been a total of three judges, two prosecutors," Johnson said. "I can’t count anymore how many defense teams that this person has had on his side to defend him."

The Broward State Attorney office said it agreed with Johnson's concerns but said the delays were beyond its control such as multiple continuances requested by the defense.

"Our office has been fighting for justice for Tikki Johnson for over nine years," the statement said. "The most recent delay came after the announcement of the presiding judge’s retirement postponing our upcoming trial date of Oct. 9, 2018. A new judge has been assigned."

The office said the new trial date is set for Jan. 14.

Johnson and his wife had three children. They now have grandchildren who will never know her.

He said while they have been waiting for her case to go to trial, his 23-year-old son, Herbert, was gunned down in Orlando in January.

He said the only thing keeping him going is trying to get justice for his wife.

"It's appalling to me how the system doesn't work for us," Johnson said.